Is Covid-19 like the Tower of Babel?

I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while now. I hope this is the right place to ask this question.

I’m wondering if Covid-19 has been (passively) allowed by God to get our attention as humanity who have been so proud of our achievements without Him; or actively sent by God as a judgement (assuming there is a difference between the two?).

The BibleProject had an episode I remember a long while back, where it described the tower of Babel as humanity using a new technology - the brick - to build something and come together against God and they were scattered by the change of language.

Covid seems to have shown just how fragile society is; and how much this current situation has caused so much fracture in society. I’m from Australia; where there is a bit of an uproar at the moment with the arrest of a lady, who had a search warrant excessed at her home by the police for posting a facebook post; the computers/phones seized, and she was arrested under the law of ‘incitement’; (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GP9-z3jfnuQ), and even a full post denouncing the actions of the Victorian government from the director of Australian Christian Lobby here in Australia (https://www.facebook.com/martynlloydiles) But from my perspective, this pales into insignificance from what appears to be a downright mess in America at the moment.

Please note that I’m a committed Christian for >30 years; and that I fully support government as ordained by God (Romans 13:1-2); the government not bearing the sword in vain, and that those that do evil will be punished by them, and those that do good have nothing to fear ( Romans 13:3-7), the teaching that Christians should try to live a peaceable life and get along with everyone ( Romans 12:17-19). I do quietly follow with interest John McArthur also taking a stand with Grace Community Church in California.

I work in IT and already am already fairly hardened (for want of a better word) to how much society is built on technology. After all, your bank balance is just a number of a computer somewhere. :slight_smile: Yes I know technology is a-moral and it can be used for either good or evil purposes by moral humans.

Here’s an article with some thoughts. I thought these lines were interesting. I wonder if God is actively (but still gently) scattering what humans have built their lives on, to get their attention. If we’re really honest in the West we rely on the economy, our prowess to do our jobs, our family, our bank balance before we rely on God.

Progress for the human species does not equal progress for the human soul, and the consequences of allowing limitless power fall into the hands of these “indecent” people could be catastrophic.

This project of constant building to the skies reminds me of the ancient Near East myth of the Tower of Babel, which Biblical authors folded into the Book of Genesis to stand as a testament to God’s power and a warning to human beings who seek to raise themselves up without His guidance or approval. Whatever Higher Power you subscribe to, you cannot deny that human power cannot be increased without limit without a matching elevation of human responsibility at the level of the individual as well as the collective. To do otherwise, is to invite a similar scattering of human potential as our egos grow beyond our ethics.

Any thoughts?

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Hi, @Shane1 :wave:

C19 could be similar with the Tower of Babel in that:

  1. They are both man-made (per some theory)
  2. They were both intended to bring humanity tightly knit together
  3. They resulted into confusion
  4. God will have to intervene

On C19 being God’s active judgment or just a consequence of man’s misadventures, it could be the latter. But either ways, God has long been calling man to repent.

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Thanks for the reply Dennis. This wasn’t quite what I meant, sorry if my question was unclear. I also realise it was a complex train of thoughts; including what is worrying me about society seeming to break down somewhat.

I’m not sure that C19 was man-made or not; that doesn’t bother me; sure, there have been biological weapons made from viruses and it’s possible here are some that exist we don’t know about; I don’t want to get into conspiracy theories and just going on what is generally public knowledge.

to try to clarify where i was coming from;

The Tower of Babel was a literal event and a judgement on mankind for disobeying God’s command to spread out.

Now the whole earth had one language and one [a]speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. 3 Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and [b]bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. 4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. 7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. 9 Therefore its name is called [c]Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

As far as I can tell; there is nothing wrong with using bricks and asphalt for mortar - the ‘technology’ of the day; it was that man was actively raising themselves as a society against God. the article I shared was interesting, even though it suggested that the tower of Babel was a myth;

the connecting thought was this;
technology, generally, isn’t good or evil; but man uses it for good or evil purposes. I wasn’t suggesting that covid-19 was a technology; but rather just mentioning technology in general.

The base on my question is two fold

  • Was God’s judgement on the people at the tower of Babel somehow kind in a way because He knows that if people group together without Him, they are going to destroy themselves because; God’s timeline was not yet finished and His plans cannot be undone; hence his scattering of people over the earth was an act of kind judgement. (We can look back now and know that Jesus Christ hadn’t even come at his first coming at the time of the tower of Babel)

thus

  • could the covid pandemic be God’s way of getting our attention as humanity today; where we as a society have built our ‘tower of babel’ against Him already; and this could be either an active act of judgement; or Him (passively) allowing it in his Sovereignty for His purposes; ie it is causing confusion and division in society and us to really question what we have all built our lives upon.

I don’t think that covid-19 is part of end times judgements; because if you read what happens in Revelation the scale of the devastation; covid-19 is nothing in comparison to what lays ahead when God actually (actively) judges the earth.

you are right; regardless of the times; God has been calling people to repent.

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Hi, Shane!
I’ve been intrigued by your thoughts over the last few days, and have been wondering how I can engage with them. :slight_smile:

I suppose my instinct is to say, ‘Far be it from me to say I know the mind/will of God!’. But I don’t want that to be a cop-out. I do believe the meanings you’ve mentioned above could be possible understandings of this global situation. However, I generally tend to think that there can exist multiple layers of meanings.

The pandemic has certainly exposed some (or many?) of the insufficiencies of modern, first-world life. It could be judgement; after all, judgement (and subsequent condemnation) at the very least communicate that something was lacking. But, paralleling that, it could also be an invitation into something deeper. When we’re stripped of our defences (or distractions), the exposure can be painful, but it can also be something that works for our freedom in certain regards… consuming our dross and refining our gold, so to speak.

Perhaps attention, yes…like we’ve all been living in our own dream worlds. But what do you reckon he is bringing our attention to? :slight_smile:

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Hi @KMac
thank you for responding; yes nobody can know the mind/will of God in his Sovereignty but we can trust His character; I think the core of my question was looking for the good that will come out of Covid-19. In Romans 8 the promise is that all things work together for good to them that love God. But we struggle when covid-19 causes such upheaval such as loss of job, loss of security, seemly a more fractured society (perhaps it is just exposing problems that already there), and even loss of loved ones perhaps.

For the Christian, perhaps God is shaking our foundations a little; for the unsaved or in particular those who are actually seeking Him it may be the event that draws them to Him, for people who build their life on materialism, or are looking for the government to solve all their problems.

I think the article I shared at the top was quite interesting because the author is a Research Scientist in Georgia into AI and collective robots. He writes of the ‘Singularity’ as a good thing; and yet throughout his writing he is writing of ethics and morals. I do not know his worldview of course.

In our era, our Tower of Babel is modern technology and institutions and the consequences of ultimate power: power to do evil. If we do not deal with this evil, we will be scattered as God scattered the people of Babylon

The author notes the existence of good and evil and it needs to be dealt with.

Is evil something that we can solve? Probably not without changing human nature itself. Will technology offer such a cure? Perhaps it will be an anti-evil pill. But would an evil person take such a pill? If the future offers us choices, it must offer us freedoms as well. Freedom inherently contradicts forcing people to change their nature. Perhaps this was really the conundrum that faced the Almighty — why not just make people good? But how without taking away who we are?

This is fascinating; he touches on a choice to to good or evil; the fact that there may be evil people and would they take an anti-evil pill, but how to do this without taking away free willl. It’s all very science fiction, taking an anti-evil pill. :slight_smile:

If we are to protect the Paradise that we seek to build, we must prepare to cast evil out of it. The future cannot be for everyone, but only for those “decent” people who are worthy of it. This is why even in the post-scarcity society of Star Trek , there are still prisons.

We all want Paradise and seek for it, and the author states what we all feel; that Paradise needs to have no evil in it. That only ‘decent’ people are worthy of it. The problem the author talks about is all the other people that might be evil; but he does not tackle ‘what about the evil within his own heart’.

I remember Ravi quoting GK Chesterton, who responded to a Newspaper article;

“Dear Sir: Regarding your article ‘What’s Wrong with the World?’ I am. Yours truly,”

― G.K. Chesterton

As Christians, the answer is the power of the Cross to restore our hearts.

Technology is the Tower not the God. We build higher and higher but we come no closer to heaven. Most of us will be content with an Earthly paradise. Some will choose to explore the stars and others to find new ways of being, but, still others, like the Archangel Lucifer, will seek to destroy it for their own gain.

Just some thoughts, thank you for reading. I’m not sure if covid-19 is to be compared to the Tower of Babel, but it is interesting to think through during the quieter moments of life.

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